SH357 LOSS OF FUNDS

Sonko's bank accounts frozen in graft probe

Says he is unable to support himself or family, can't even draw salary.

In Summary

• Assets Recovery Agency learned on October 5, 2019, the accounts received suspicious transactions believed to be proceeds of crime as a result of theft from the Nairobi county government.

• Sonko says he is unable to support himself or his family as he cannot even receive his salary as governor via any of the affected accounts.

NAirobi Governor Mike Sonko when he appeared before the EACC on November 5, 2020.
NAirobi Governor Mike Sonko when he appeared before the EACC on November 5, 2020.
Image: COURTESY

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was been dealt a major blow on Wednesday after it emerged that five of his bank accounts have been frozen.

He says he cannot support himself or his family and cannot even draw his salary as governor.

The Assets Recovery Agency asked the court to freeze the accounts following claims of suspicious money transactions believed to be proceeds of crime “as a result of theft from Nairobi county government”.

The flashy governor, known for openly splashing millions and wearing costly and ostentatious bling, now says he is financially grounded.

In May 2019 h Sonko claimed he was worth more than the Sh32 billion annual budge of Nairobi. 

In a new court application to lift the freeze order, Sonko complained he is unable to financially support himself or his family as he cannot even receive his salary.

Also frozen are accounts held in the name of Antony Mwaura, Rose Njeri, Toddy Engineering Company Limited, Hardi Enterprises Limited and Brigit Wamaitha.

The accounts are held at KCB, Equity Bank, Cooperative Bank, Credit Bank, Sidian Bank, National Bank, Bank of Africa, I&M Bank and Diamond Trust Bank.

Mwaura and his wife Njeri were charged alongside Sonko in the Sh357 million garbage collection tender.

In the contract, Sonko is alleged to have received millions in kickbacks wired through proxies to his bank accounts.

The Assets Recovery Agency had asked for the freeze order and access to the accounts to carry out investigations.

Also sought by the agency are certified copies of account opening documents, statements of account from January 2017 to date, cheque/cash deposit slips/ withdrawal slips and RTGs, among other things.

The agency had told the court that it received information on October 5, 2019, that the accounts received suspicious deposits believed to be proceeds of crime.

However, in his application before court Sonko says there is no evidence showing that monies held in his bank account are proceeds of crime and as a result, the order by the Asset Recovery AGencyo freeze his accounts hampers his family life.

“To continue fettering these bank accounts of the applicant in the manner complained of is in itself a violation of the constitutional right to the applicant’s presumption of innocence. Such freezing of the applicant’s bank accounts is therefore oppressive and unjustified,” the suit papers read.

Sonko learnt of the order on December 24 when the banks informed him that his accounts have been frozen by a court order dated December 11. The order was given to the agency by senior resident magistrate E. Riany.

He was never served with court papers and the matter was scheduled for hearing on January 27.

Sonko now says the interim order obtained by the agency was not extended on December 23 yet the agency has continued to present same to the banks as valid order when in actual fact they have since lapsed.

He says the move by the Assets Recovery Agency is informed by malice because there are no proceedings or charges of money laundering preferred against him in any court.

“The Assets Recovery Agency is clearly abusing the court process by conjuring up an excuse to engage in a fishing witch-hunt of the applicant’s funds held in the implicated bank accounts, and it is not interested in applying the law,” his lawyer said in suit papers.

He also clarified that he was not a governor of Nairobi as at January 2017. having only been declared governor on August 2017, yet the agency premised its plea for orders on loss of funds at the county from January 2017.

Sonko and his associates are accused of misappropriating Sh357 million of public funds. He denied the charges and is out on bond.

Yesterday magistrate Martha Mutuku directed that Sonko serves his application on all the banks and come for hearing on January 27